In the spring of 2013, Tom Ventress and Erin Heffner married in front of family and friends. It was a perfect day. But as they left for their honeymoon, they detoured for the hospital with Erin in excruciating pain. Doctors found a softball-sized cyst on her ovary, which tests showed as cancerous. The cyst was removed, but because of the chemotherapy she was about to begin, doctors had to terminate her pregnancy in fear it would harm the baby. Tom and Erin were devastated. For nearly eight months, Erin took on chemo treatments. However, in early 2014, an MRI showed the cancer had moved to Erin's brain. She passed away on February 8 that year, and in a whirlwind, Tom had lost his soulmate and their child. At Erin's funeral, her parents asked family and friends to show their support through gifts to the V Foundation. To further those wishes, her friends started Cornholin' Cancer, an annual event that has now raised over $50,000 for cancer research.
The fifth year of the tournament was completed in May 2018. By telling Erin’s story, Cornholin’ Cancer has been able to secure total sponsors each year they’ve held the event. With the large cornhole community in their area, event hosts use Facebook and word of mouth to spread awareness and gain sponsorship. In addition, it takes many additional individuals (starting in February) to help make the fundraiser a success each year. They have key players always willing to provide music, cornhole boards and food, to name a few.
To keep going year after year, there is a piece of plywood they paint with black chalkboard paint every year. It says, "Who are you Cornholin' for?" Everyone is asked to fill it out. It's a great way to put things into perspective and see who the fundraising is ultimately supporting. We have all lost someone special in our lives, and if they can be a part of funding the cure, then they will keep "Fightin' the Fight!"